News Roundup: Economic Self-Interest

UW Station (Sound Transit)

This is an open thread.

About Martin H. Duke

Martin joined the blog in Fall 2007 and became Editor-in-Chief in 2009. He is originally from suburban DC, but has lived in the Greater Seattle area since 1997. He resides with his family in Columbia City and works as a software engineer in Lower Queen Anne.




Comments

  1. One day into the new supposed power “sharing” agreement in the State Senate and the crazies from Fort Vancouver are already running amok:

    http://www.columbian.com/news/2013/jan/16/benton-rivers-propose-anti-light-rail-bill/

    Lets see, the Feds are willing to pick up most of the tab, and you would gain access to billions of dollars of previous LR spending in Portland without being asked to contribute, and you have a way to avoid the tolls, and they are against it??? Crzy.

    • You’re right. That is completely moronic. The stretch between Vancouver and Downtown Portland is always crowded. A new bridge will just mean more people trying to drive between the two cites, hence more congestion. Why not put some of that on a train?

      The older I get, the more conservative I get, but that’s not conservative – it’s just stupid. Unfortunately, I don’t think many people understand the distinction.

      • Hey, we complain about RapidRide a lot here, and the point seems to have been lost that that is mostly money from the feds. Free money for fleet replacement? We sure look that gift horse in the mouth by pointing out a long list of things we would have done differently. Some here even suggest we shouldn’t have taken the federal money.

      • Nathanael says:

        I guess really only BRT advocates should be angry about RapidRide, because it’s a big phony and discredits the very concept of BRT. If you think discrediting BRT is a good idea, then taking “BRT” money from the Feds and (mis)using it for fleet replacement does kind of make sense.

      • Brent,

        We might complain about Rapid Ride (somewhat), but the bottom line is that locally the concept has strong local support and was voter approved.

        But in Vancouver? Na, they are complaining about the very concept of LR, trying to legislate against it, and claiming it needs to be killed to “protect future generations.” Totally nutty….

      • Matt L (aka Angry Transit Nerd) says:

        @Brent: Yeah! Free money from the feds! Also, additional sales taxes from all of us that we approved after being told:

        New “bus rapid transit” routes with fast, frequent, all-day service will be created with RapidRide. Bus rapid transit is a new concept for King County. Special modern buses designed for rapid service will serve five new routes. The buses travel in their own dedicated right of way and make limited stop, similar to rail service.

        At least Chicago was smart enough to label the Jeffrey Jump a “pilot project.” Same federal money, no broken promises.

      • Plus Metro seems completely convinced that RapidRide represents a “trunk” warranting a large-scale restructuring of other service that forces more transfers even as RR itself reduces frequencies in some places.

        All that for a “fleet replacement”, semi-free from the feds or not? That’s not good for us, it just reflects badly on the feds that they could give Metro money in such a way as to allow it to delude itself like that.

      • “Plus Metro seems completely convinced that RapidRide represents a “trunk” warranting a large-scale restructuring of other service that forces more transfers even as RR itself reduces frequencies in some places.”

        Metro did think that but has since backed off. The major restructure around RapidRide E is cancelled. Kevin Desmond said at the last meetup that he wouldn’t try again to make so many changes all at the same time. He also said that Federal Wayans and Bellevuites have loved RR A and B since the day they opened and ridership increased significantly. RR C’s reception is not that gushing but it’s pretty popular. RR D is the only one so far that has been so problematic that people wonder if it’s any improvement at all or even worse than what it replaced.

        Looking at Ballard itself (this is solely my opinion), there are some things which make the area particularly difficult to serve. Ballard’s development is V-shaped, on Leary/24th and 15th. One route can’t serve both legs of the V, so they had to choose one or the other. They chose 15th a few years ago believing future development would be concentrated there, and to make the route straighter if it’s ever extended to Northgate. Development came a bit further west than predicted. There was also the really unfortunate decision to go through Uptown, even though downtown-uptown didn’t need it and Ballard-Uptown is a smaller transit market than Ballard-downtown, and Denny Way is close enough to Uptown anyway.

        The closest parallel to these problems on other RapidRide routes is how Aurora doesn’t serve Fremont so the E and 5 have to be redundant, similar to the D and 40. But that’s more of a peripheral issue to Fremont’s life compared to 24th vs 15th, and it’s also obvious that Aurora won’t be rebuilt so there’s nothing we can do about it.

    • Sen. Don Benton was awarded the ‘Transportation Dinosaur of the Year’ (complete with skeleton model) at Alt-Trans 1st annual meeting back in ..’85, if believe (now TCC). He declined the offer to be present, but we gave it to him anyway.
      Times haven’t changed much since then.

    • This wouldn’t be a problem if we still had Haugen.

      • It would be.

        Besides, Haugen was part of the good ole’ clique. Time to change things out over time.

      • Stephen F says:

        Avgeek Joe is clearly lying. He has an axe to grind with Ds and constantly suggests he supports transport yet always advances the Rs who never do. I don’t know what kind of dissonant world Joe lives in, but reality with the legislative session will hopefully kick in that his party is against his every core interest–taxes included.

      • Nathanael says:

        There’s brand loyalty. It used to make sense to vote for Republicans, long ago in the days of Eisenhower and Nelson Rockefeller.

        Besides, I’ve met some of the elected state-level Republicans over here in NY. They’re very good at *appearing* to be decent people, and probably they are decent in ordinary social situations. I can see how they would seem attractive.

        There is something wrong in their heads, though, and when the time comes to vote, they usually vote to screw the state horribly.

        It has been suggested that they lack a capacity to put themselves in other people’s shoes. So, for instance, if a typical Republican elected official has a sister with mental illness, he will advocate for sensible policies on mental illness. But if he doesn’t, he will advocate for terrible policies.

        Of course, some of them are outright scum (Newt Gingrich, divorcing his wife on her deathbed, comes to mind), but I think more of them are just… wrong-headed. Missing something, mentally. Nice enough to invite to dinner, but should be kept well away from power.

      • Right, if you want saints vote Democrate.

      • That’s not what Nathaneal said. He posted a good thoughtful post, and you replied in a knee jerk, overly defensive reactionary manner, basically proving his point.

      • Look I’m a Republican with deep concerns about my party. But I have to pick a party so I pick R because:

        I, for one, want voter approval on all taxes. I also have voted FOR some higher taxes such as for transit and 1st Responders. But voters should make that choice, it’s what we want so let us live with the consequences.

        I, for two, believe that Republicans can be empathetic. With their own resources… this “spread the wealth” stuff with Other People’s Money and retreating at ritzy resorts on taxpayer dime doesn’t sit well with us.

        I, for three, did have my own policy axes to grind w/ MMH. She wasn’t the biggest transit supporter, she didn’t go to Oak Harbor Navy League meetings yet represents NAS Whidbey Island and she was part of a clique that disadvantaged my Skagit County from time to time – a county that is purple and pays our own way + more.

        It was well beyond time for MMH to go. I won’t say that about Rep. Jessyn Farrell or Rep. Chris Reykdal, the latter of whom is a friend.

  2. Can we move that shelter to Lander St, just west of 4th Ave S? I know, it isn’t officially a stop, but maybe if enough 21 riders huddle up there, the drivers will stop there and pick them up, out of pity.

    21 riders just don’t seem to be the squeaky wheels that A Line riders are.

    If we set up a stop there, and drivers stopped for it without being told it is an official stop, would anyone complain?

  3. Mark in Kenmore says:

    I’m very encouraged by Gov. Inslee’s mention yesterday of expanding transit and bike infrastructure. I look forward to seeing the specifics of such a transportation package.

  4. ST’s Board has indeed taken action on the 2013 SIP. We can breathe a sigh of relief that it didn’t get ruined by lobbying from some overly-powerful neighborhoods. The webpage now shows the details.

  5. The Point Wells development is one to keep an eye, because it is going to be an unmitigated disaster for Richmond Beach in terms of impact.

  6. John Bailo says:

    Cleveland’s RTA to unveil nonpolluting hydrogen-fueled bus

    http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2013/01/rtahydrogen-fueled_bus.html

    There is a NREL webinar happening right now on converting wind to hydrogen:

    https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/646354544

    You can still join us!

    • Nathanael says:

      Electricity is still cheaper as an intermediate energy form.

      • John Bailo says:

        Currently electricity is not readily storable. Generators have to be spun up or down and brought online to meet demand. That results in inefficiencies that fuel cells, with their instant ability to switch on or off can mediate.

      • One of the biggest whoopers you’ve spun to date. Electric generators take very little time to power up or down and they produce AC current for direct distribution on the power grid. A fuel cell produces low voltage DC current and a boat load of heat. The inefficiency of stepping that current up to the required voltage and modulating the frequency would require more power that what was able to be stored.

      • John Bailo says:

        But you can’t put coal fired plant in your backyard.

        Spinning reserve:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operating_reserve

        But the point is how easily can I control the generation. With fuel cell stacks I can have very fine gradations. With coal fired generators it is all or nothing.

        A standard grid is like a cluster of mainframes with DASD.

        A soft grid with renewable inputs, hydrogen storage and fuel cell generators is like cloud architecture.

      • As stationary back-up power using natural gas and a reformer a fuel cell has potential. That has nothing to do with storing electricity. It has nothing to do with the main power gird and it has nothing to do with the hydrogen highway. Powered by available and abundant natural gas the problems associated with storage and distribution of hydrogen don’t exist. Coal fired power plants don’t account for the huge proportion of electrical generation in this country because they’re efficient; it’s because coal is dirt cheap. They way to replace coal is to offer a less expensive solution not a more expensive one.

      • Nathanael says:

        For the short term, hydro, John, hydro. You in the Pacific NW have it. We near Niagara Falls have it. Sure, Texas doesn’t.

        In the long term, my friends have solved the battery problem with a magnetic battery; roughly 100x the energy density of any existing battery. We’re just trying to get it manufactured now. It can be manufactured in existing factories.

      • Nathanael says:

        And yes, before anyone mentions it, *anything* with a high energy density has a fire/explosion risk, which has to be dealt with very carefully.

    • John Bailo says:

      Japan & Germany Revving Up for More Hydrogen Fueling Stations

      Japan and Germany are both once again putting the pedal to the metal in regard to building more hydrogen fueling stations by 2015. This is the rollout date agree to by all of the major automakers for their commercial hydrogen fuel cell cars.

      According to Fuel Cell Today (courtesy Nikkei), “The Nikkei reports that JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp. plans to open 40 hydrogen refuelling stations by 2015, when automakers will launch commercial fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV). In January 2011, thirteen automakers and energy companies signed up to a target of 100 hydrogen refuelling stations in Japan by 2015.

      http://www.hydrogencarsnow.com/blog2/index.php/hydrogen-fueling-stations/japan-germany-revving-up-for-more-hydrogen-fueling-stations/

      • Andrew Smith says:

        Hydrogen cars seem like a bad idea to me. Even trained people working with hydrogen have accidents. I wouldn’t want to drive on the road with a bunch of arseholes driving run-down mini-Hindenburgs.

      • Rumor has it that Boeing is replacing all the L-ion batteries on the 787′s with fuel cells – a proven technology.

      • Even trained people working with gasoline have accidents. We had an incident recently where the tanker fire melted the structural steel of an overpass. Same thing can happen with natural gas. Both have a higher energy density than hydrogen. Hydrogen has a much wider explosive range but in practice it doesn’t really seem to matter as we saw with the Pierce Transit refueling explosion. Hydrogen is also more difficult to contain but that problem can be solved with the mire application of money. The question is why when it costs more and delivers less?

      • John Bailo says:

        Why does a sane blog let people post such inane drivel responses to valid articles when it predes itself on policing content?

      • Andrew Smith says:

        Bernie, the ratio of accidents to people who fuel cars is extremely low. Fuel cells are a good idea, but they are more difficult to fuel up.

        Why does a sane blog let people post such inane drivel responses to valid articles when it predes itself on policing content?

        I ask myself that question every time I read one of your comments, John.

      • It’s rare but “Car strikes gas pumps, catches fire ” happens. Having worked at a gas station when I was going to school I’m amazed “accidents” aren’t more common. Canada has already worked up safety standards for hydrogen fueling. I guess you have to do something during the long dark winters := I doubt there will be self-serve fueling stations and they’ll likely require hydro testing and re-certification of the already pricey carbon fiber tanks every few years. Which is about how often the fuel cell stacks will have to be replace. The whole scam is cost prohibitive.

    • John Bailo says:

      Chu Stepping Down

      http://www.marketwatch.com/story/energy-secretary-steven-chu-stepping-down-report-2013-01-17?link=MW_latest_news

      Could this portend a sea change in the administration’s stance on fuel cells?

      Who will the new Secretary of Energy be?

      • Chu, who has been secretary since 2009, shared a Nobel Prize in physics

        Well, getting rid of someone that understands physics would be a plus for the fuel cell lobby. Note Chu only became interested in government funding to find “a few miracles” to make fuel cells viable when the US became inundated with a plentiful supply of natural gas. Frack baby frack!

      • John Bailo says:

        More ridiculous responses.

        Where is the editor now?

      • Nathanael says:

        Bernie’s right, John.

      • John Bailo says:

        No he is not right.

        The US is already producing hydrogen for use in gasoline.

        Gasoline and diesel are not a fuels…they are costly products of refinement from crude oil. Gasoline has to be enriched using hydrogen to bring the octane level up where it’s useable by modern cars.

        Shifting to hydrogen means in many ways simply cutting out the middleman of petroleum!

        And as I have written many times, hydrogen can be produced in many ways that are 100% renewable, like using wind and water. I just recently attended an NREL webinar discussing the combination of wind and hydrogen storage on a grid (they are doing real world experiments and monitoring) and the results are quite good! Europe and Germany are combining for solar to hydrogen plants.

        No engineering solution is a panacea, but to simply ignore all this progress and step on points without really debating them is simply ignorance.

      • John, you’re not using the English language the same way everyone else is. You come across as a total crackpot saying gasoline and diesel aren’t fuels. Do you understand the difference between a fuel and a resource which is a source of energy? Or do you have to block that out of your mind to maintain a hydrogen high?

      • John Bailo says:
    • John Bailo says:

      Hyundai ix35 Refuels at Ajusa Hydrogen Station

      Spanish automotive component and fuel cell developer, Ajusa, had a visit from Hyundai on January 8th to refuel one of its ix35 fuel cell electric vehicles at Ajusa’s Don Qhyxote hydrogen station. The vehicle was successfully filled to 350 bar with hydrogen, marking the first occasion a commercial, non-Ajusa vehicle has refuelled at the station.

      http://www.fuelcelltoday.com/news-events/news-archive/2013/january/hyundai-ix35-refuels-at-ajusa-hydrogen-station

  7. On the signage article, I have to say that the best I’ve seen in my limited travels is the signage at O’Hare — there are “Trains To City” arrows on the directional signs starting near the gate (rather than just at the baggage claim), and the wording itself leaves little doubt as to where you’re going. It’s a heck of a walk but there is plenty of reassurance along the way. Much more tourist friendly.

    • Matt L (aka Angry Transit Nerd) says:

      Crosscut is only two years late in noticing this.

      • Anyone think that there is some benefit to SeaTac for NOT making it blatantly obvious that the train goes downtown? In other words, is it in the Port’s best interest (financially or otherwise) to make it easier to use taxis, shuttles, rental cars, etc.?

        One thing I wonder about though, who arrives at an airport with zero idea how to get to where they are going? Maybe something like: “I’ll just grab a cab to downtown when I arrive”, notices sign for train to downtown, “Sweet, I’ll just take the train, I’m sure it’s cheaper”

      • Well, the train requires you to still have some sort of idea where you’re going once you get downtown, whereas with a cab, you can simply name your hotel and be dropped off at the front door. And if it’s a business trip, you’re employer is paying for it, so you have zero incentive to economize on cost.

    • alexjonlin says:

      My question, though, is do that many tourists fly into an airport without checking at all in advance to see how to get from the airport to their destination? Maybe better signage would get a few extra people, but it doesn’t seem like Link is having a problem getting tourists onto the train at Sea-Tac as it is.

      • Perhaps the issue is people who INTEND to take the train, but don’t know how to get to it?

      • Jim Cusick says:

        Sound Transit should take out ads at various locations in the airport that show a basic airport map with arrows, using their “Ride the Wave” style advertising.

    • Alex Francis Burchard says:

      That is the only good thing about O’Hare’s signage, the rest of it is absolute crap, and insufficient, as someone who has the misfortune to fly from there many times a year.

    • Link signage at Seatac is every bit as clear as Link signage at Westlake. The first time I took it from Westlake it took 30 minutes (and 3 trains) to get on the damn thing. The signs are not clear WHICH set of stairs you should go down. In Paris the sign to the destination would be directly over the stairs or on the wall by the stairs. With Westlake the put it over the walkway on the mezzanine. It’s not like we invented transit, we could just copy some other city and be done with it.

      • Wait, what? There’s signage at Westlake? Where? I can’t ever find it. It’s like the secret valley in the Hobbit. I know I came up out of the ground right around here somewhere but how in the hell to I get back!

      • Again, I point to Singapore and Changi Airport. When you are leaving the luggage area, there are clear signs pointing to the MRT train and busses. In fact there are signs that say how much it costs for MRT, busses, and taxis, as well as how long each takes to get to downtown Singapre. That gives every single person as much information as they would need to make a choice on how to get to downtown Singapore.

  8. In the past, when I’ve complained about meandering, zig-zagging alignments, bloggers and commenters here have lectured me that I’m a fool for expecting transit to be more streamlined. They would tell me the purpose of transit is to go to where the people and businesses are, efficiency be dammed. But now I’m reading on STB about how the route 16 must be streamlined around the Seattle Center. But instead of criticizing it, these same bloggers and commenters are practically giving the idea a standing ovation. My point? I don’t have one. I basically just want to tell all of you I told you so. I was right all along.

    • Matthew Johnson says:

      This troll is getting old. Will you actually answer this time or just ignore it like all the other times you’ve been called out?

      “I’ll repeat something I have said to you before when you have tried this troll technique: Different Situations call for Different Solutions.

      Context does exist, and it does matter.”

      http://seattletransitblog.com/2012/11/24/subsidized-parking-for-sounder-north/#comment-268033

      I think Zach’s response (which you also ignored) to that one is also pretty good:

      “Sam, it’s pretty simple. Every author has their own views and writes under their own name. We disagree with each other frequently and sometimes furiously. If you want something that “STB BELIEVES” wait for an unsigned Op-Ed, of which we run only a handful per year.”

    • Has anyone on here ever said that? I think pretty much everyone here has been pretty consistently supportive of straightening and rationalizing routes whenever possible, even if we’ve doubted Metro’s willingness to do so; Bruce has called for Metro to straighten the 16 for something like YEARS.

      Or perhaps you expect all transit supporters and bloggers everywhere to be a monolithic group? “What? These anti-car warriors aren’t a big monolithic conspiracy out to destroy my freedom, but are actually real people with genuine opinions complete with actual disagreements on details? DOES NOT COMPUTE”

  9. Andrew Smith says:

    That Bellevue Office plan is, in fact, the same one (same project, not same link) posted in the last roundup

  10. Received my replacement ChicagoCardPlus card today. In contrast to ORCA, the CTA sets a defined expiration period as 4 years. They waive the $5 application fee for first time card users and each replacement sent because of the expiration is free.

    • Matt L (aka Angry Transit Nerd) says:

      Chicago is also about to deploy Ventra, which will allow you to use a contactless credit card as your pass and eventually NFC-enabled phones.

  11. Matt the Engineer says:

    City of Seattle climate action plan survey. Not one suggestion that we let more people live in Seattle rather than the suburbs/exurbs.

    • I didn’t look at the survey, but from the full GRC report(29MB pdf):

      1. Attract a significant portion of the region’s growth to the city by focusing on increasing
      mobility options and creating complete communities that cut travel distances.

      Seattle anticipates more than 100,000 new residents and 100,000 jobs over the next 20
      years creating opportunities to foster smart growth in an urban setting where residents
      have lower carbon footprints than suburban residents.

      This seems like the right goal, encouraging people to travel less distance between home and job, not just attracting more people to live inside the Seattle city limits. People will live where they will, but getting people in the whole area to reduce their GHG impact will have a better bigger line.

      • … better bottom line.

        The ‘suburbs’ are becoming increasingly urbanized. Did you read the article about rents going down in Kirkland and Redmond? That’s because there’s an apartment building boom in those cities, just like there is in Seattle.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        I think it’s a fine goal to have people live near where they work, wherever that is.

        That said, life in Redmond – even downtown Redmond – leads to much more driving than living in downtown Seattle.

      • We aren’t expecting everybody to live in downtown Seattle. The urban village concept expects them to live in Capitol Hill, Columbia City, Ballard, etc. So the real issue is, how does downtown Redmond compare with Ballard, for instance. What do you need a car for in downtown Redmond that you don’t in Ballard? What specific things like that do we need to get Redmond to address?

  12. I disagree with that Crosscut article. While the signage isn’t great, I found it decipherable my first time visiting Seattle prior to moving up here. The biggest problem with the airport light rail station is the lack of a decent connection to the terminal. I know a People Mover or even a climate-controlled pedestrian bridge is probably asking too much, but could we at least get a windbreak on the existing pathway?

  13. alexjonlin says:

    The top comment on the Point Wells article says “Sound Transit has been very clear that they will not entertain putting in a rail station for Point Wells.” Is this true? I hadn’t heard anything about that. If the developer pays for it I don’t see a problem.

    • Andrew Smith says:

      Isn’t the problem that they are only putting something like 3000 people in at Point wells? It’s may not be enough to justify stopping the train there.

      • alexjonlin says:

        I think it’s 7-8k, but either way that would probably be by far the most residents in the walkshed of any Sounder North station.

      • Andrew Smith says:

        I didn’t realise that project was so big. 7k is really a pretty huge development for so small a site.

        61 acres is about 9.2% of a sq mile, so 7K on that land is 70,000pp/sq mile which is REALLY dense.

      • The article says about 3000 units. The author of the article extrapolates that to over 7000 using the average household size of Shoreline. That almost certainly overestimates the population, since average household size would probably be smaller here than in most of Shoreline, and you wouldn’t always have full occupancy.

        I’m not expert enough to know whether the developer’s appeal to sustainability is based on anything other than website copy. Their transportation bit is the worst kind of silliness. Even if Sounder stops there, that’s two trips a day for Seattle commuters. With 3000 units it makes sense to extend the 348 and 304 there… except that it’s in Snohomish County. That’s sort of awkward, since at least the transportation infrastructure will be connected mostly to Shoreline and King County, and they will bear a lot of the costs. It seems like annexation to King County and Shoreline would align costs more fairly.

  14. That PCC in Columbia City is desperately needed. My biggest complaint living in the Rainier Valley was that the grocery options were very limited.

    • Well, actually there are lots of grocery options, they’re just not the fancy big box store variety until you get to the fringes of the valley e.g. Rainier and Henderson or Rainier near Andover.

      As for me, I take Link/SLUT to SLU and shop at the evil Whole Foods with occasional forays to PCC and Central Coop and yes, COSTCO.

      • Matthew Johnson says:

        No 50 to Trader Joes?

      • There’s a trader Joe’s in the next block up the hill from Central Co-op. I go there maybe twice a year. So I likely take either the 12 or the 2.

      • It’s not “fancy” to desire healthy, locally-grown food without the bottom-of-the-barrel sweeteners and additive poisons in it. Not even necessarily organic. Just something that resembles nutritious food.

        The PCC and Trader Joe’s in Seward Park is a start, and fortunately the 50 makes them easier to get to now, and hopefully it will become more frequent in the future. But the valley itself needs a store like that, something you can take a frequent bus to or walk to.

  15. Anyone have any ideas for improving Water Taxi connections? If the 128 were extended to Seacrest, how much schedule massaging would be required to get it to connect with the Taxi while maintaining the interline with the 50?

    • Matt the Engineer says:

      “Anyone have any ideas for improving Water Taxi connections?”

      Funicular up to near California & Admiral. You could probably get to Admiral & Walnut or California & Ferry fairly cheaply – anything closer to the action and you’ll have to tunnel. Or run a very short line up to Palm Ave and reroute the buses on California.

      • Alex Francis Burchard says:

        An Underground funicular would be really cool. I got to ride one of the two funiculars in Istanbul twice while I Was there to get to kapalicarsi, and it is a super nice way to get from Taksim to their light rail that crosses the golden horn to kapalicarsi.

      • Matt the Engineer says:

        I love that funicular. Do they still have the little dime-sized tokens? Was the little streetcar running at the top of the funicular?

      • I’ve been on this one called the Carmelit in Israel…

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0ep6PDgnx4

    • Not sure if a full-sized bus can make it down the hill, or (even more so) where it would turn around once it got down there.

      I think the answer is to expand service on both shuttle routes.

      • Or maybe the answer is to replace both shuttles with a partial revival of the 53, or whatever the 37′s cousin loop route was. This route would follow the routes of both shuttles as they are now up to at least Alki Point from the Junction. You could then run a single shuttle down the hill from Admiral, and maybe rededicate the 37 to serving that area west of California served by the 57 that lost its cousin loop route in the RR C shakeup. (Or was the 37 reduced to peak-only?)

        I doubt the issue is span or frequency of the shuttles (isn’t that the same as for the Water Taxi itself?) so much as the fact that they do have to be so small (see the second comment on that WSB piece). Thus, the best solution is an alternative that doesn’t have to climb or go down steep hills.

        Then again, judging by the venom being spewed at RR C in those comments, maybe Metro wants to avoid how such a move might look…

  16. Does anyone know if OneBusAway has any plans for or is already developing a Windows 8/RT app?

  17. Metro is proposing a minor reorganizing of I-90 peak hour services to respond to crowding. Looks like it will go into effect in September.

    http://metro.kingcounty.gov/have-a-say/projects/i90-corridor/

    Speaking of service changes, does anyone know if there are any other route cuts on the table for February besides the 42?

    • Looks to me like an effort to delete a few trips and shift passengers more evenly onto the trips that remain.

      Route 215 and 216 riders will really like this set of changes — it shortens their trips.

      The big losers are Eastgate P&R commuters in the morning. They are seeing what amounts to a significant service cut (several 212 trips deleted, replaced only by fewer 210 trips now serving the P&R). On the other hand, Issaquah P&R commuters are getting a slight service increase both morning and afternoon.

      • I wondered how it might affect folks using South Bellevue P&R. There’s a service reduction there too.

        Their table of changes by location doesn’t seem right. There are fewer 212 trips, but more 216 and 218 trips which serves Eastgate in the morning only.

      • I think Metro should ask themselves why it is that they’re proposing running so many more 212 trips in the afternoon than in the morning.

      • Oh, I forgot about those 216 and 218 trips, though Metro lists the freeway station separately from the park-and-ride. But commuters between Eastgate and the Highlands will be down to the 211, 554, or 556 in the PM. With more emphasis on the 211 (will that bus still get off the freeway in Factoria?) Metro could conceivably restore 212 levels and have the 216 and 218 skip Eastgate full-time.

        People at South Bellevue lose a one-seat ride to First Hill, but not much else; the 241, 550, and 556 fill the roles of everything else, and as the 211 was previously no one in their right mind would take it long distances.

      • The 218 still stops at Eastgate in the mornings, so the increased service on the 218 will make up for some of the reduced service on the 212 in the mornings.

      • Peyton Stever says:

        The change that affect me most is te change in the 216 from North Issaquah to Issaquah Highlands P&R. My commute is to Bellevue College, so I only travel to the Eastgate P&R freeway station. That means I get none of the benefit of skipping Mercer Island while paying the cost of taking a less direct route between South Sammamish P&Are and Eastgate. Which in my experience is the most crowed part.There are many other BC students that make the same commute.

      • And now it’s going to be even MORE crowded, and you won’t be able to take the 216 on the way back so you’ll have to transfer at the Highlands.

      • The problem is that they’re trying to treat the 216 and 218 like they’re the same type of route when they really aren’t. The 218′s major purpose is to get from the DSTT to the Issaquah Highlands P&R, plain and simple. The 216 however collects passengers pretty evenly along its route and travels through some pretty residential areas, it’s designed for door to door transportation and not funneling people from a P&R. As a result, trying to delete a stop screws over a good chunk of your riders (myself included). The only solution that would make everyone happy would be to keep all the current stops but prevent people from de-boarding at Eastgate. I don’t see that ever being enforceable so the next best thing in my opinion would be stopping at the Issaquah TC. The Highlands P&R already gets enough service for its type of ridership and the Issaquah TC is close enough to the current 216 route to maintain the current route structure.

        Honestly though as a 216 rider, I would much prefer having to deal with all of the stupid Eastgate overcrowding than lose the stop at Eastgate entirely. It’s too bad we don’t have pay as you leave anymore or we could just charge anyone who gets off at Eastgate $10, I bet that would solve things pretty quickly.

      • Also I don’t feel sorry for the Eastgate P&R people at all because its their stubbornness and refusal to only use the 212 that’s causing all of this restructuring in the first place.

    • Thanks for highlighting this. I’m moving to Snoqualmie and would be delighted if the 215′s schedule is streamlined; I’ll definitely provide feedback supporting that change.

      • I guess the one person who takes the 215 each day from Snoqualmie Ridge to Issaquah can just suck it up and drive. That’s the price you have to pay for living way out there. Seems like a great idea for everyone else, though.

      • “That’s the price you have to pay for living way out there.”

        They pay the same taxes for Metro as everyone else.

      • alexjonlin says:

        But the service costs probably an order of magnitude more to provide per rider than busy in-city service does.

      • Matt L (aka Angry Transit Nerd) says:

        This is why having the whole damn county pay for Metro is completely asinine.

        Going to a PTBA would reduce tax revenues some, but it would really help us define which parts of the county have a reasonable expectation of bus service and which ones don’t.

      • Going to a PTBA

        Unless you’re talking about substantially shrinking the area I don’t see how it would have much practical effect on revenue or service. On the revenue side it’s a tiny fraction of the county’s population and they likely do most of their shopping within areas that would still be taxed. On the service side rural routes should be based on the performance metrics in line with the level of revenue generated. This means primarily P&R based commute oriented service. True, the people “pay the same taxes for Metro as everyone else” but they are getting really good value for that money by not having to drive and park in DT Bellevue or Seattle.

      • Matt L (aka Angry Transit Nerd) says:

        It’s not so much about getting rid of the buses to Enumclaw as getting rid of the guy from Enumclaw testifying against the CRC.

        I want a governance structure where what people in Duvall think is irrelevant to bus service in Seattle.

    • I like it. Rationalizes how those buses work. No more 214 redundantly running empty to downtown Issaquah, and no more 215 cannibalizing the 209 (albeit not in ideal fashion), though the 218 will now be a shortened version of the 216.

      Will the 214 be timed to connect with 200s in both directions, to make up for the loss of both the 214′s Downtown Issaquah leg and the rerouting of the 216? (Presumably Sammamish and Bear Creek commuters to North Issaquah can and are taking the 269.)

  18. Do you all have any idea of when King County Metro will release its changes for the February 2013 service revision? They should really tell us now.

    • Looking at the run cards, it doesn’t look like there will be many changes. It’s hard to get a comprehensive picture that way, but nothing jumped out at me except for an extra night trip to Magnolia.

    • From the run cards, it looked like no changes to the C, D, or 22 relative to today. I belive the 24 gained two outbound trips and one inbound trip in the evening with service to after 10:00pm.

  19. Standing in the darkness of the north end of the Mukilteo platform this morning got me to thinking about the proposed walkway, and here you guys have it today, go figure.

    But in reality I consider this a far second to adding another station. Just this week my co-workers car broke down, so we did the trip planner from Everett to Ballard, I did my best to convince him of using public transit.

    Boy he wasn’t happy about that after we were done. RapidRide doesn’t help one bit as we know. The end result is that a station is needed first to add more ridership, if there were one in the Interbay area my co-worker would be willing to take the train permanently. That of course would spur even more riders from Mukilteo and other stations to take the train, and make adding a platform across the tracks at Mukilteo easier.

    ST needs to get its priorities straight first when it comes to the Northline. Add more stations, increase ridership, and that equals revenue. Then think about the accoutrements like another walkway, etc.

    They do get big kudos from me for the past two weeks of busing to Mukilteo in the afternoon. For the most part they have it down now, there were exceptions of course, but in all a fine job, seriously. Thanks Sound Transit!

    • Add more stations that can be knocked out of service for a quarter of the year due to mudslides?

      • Kyle, a quarter of the year? Think you could stretch the truth on that even more? Why not go half, or all the way?

        This year was an exceptional one in terms of landslides, unfortunately. Of course the obvious solution is a long term plan with the homeowners of the house right above the ROW.

      • The problem with mudslides isn’t just the mudslide events themselves and the two or three days it takes to (wait for BNSF to) recover from them. It’s the threat of unreliability imposed by the slides that does Sounder North in as a viable transportation alternative.

      • Nathanael says:

        Well, the Interbay station could remain in service during mudslides. Admittedly that would be an extremely short North Sounder route. :-)

        Actually, I guess that would only be possible if contra-peak runs were added, since presumably the trainsets are stored in Everett right now. That should happen anyway, rather than 4 peak runs (with a usage rate which would call for only 2 peak runs).

        Of course you’d need to get BNSF to agree to that; I believe BNSF wanted to get the entire line double-tracked first (which is reasonable).

        So, what’s the state of double-tracking from Seattle to Everett?

    • Off-peak, taking the 510 to 45th St., then hopping on the 44 isn’t too bad. But, peak, I think there’s no choice besides backtracking into downtown. If d.p. is correct, it will be nearly an hour between when you leave Ballard on a D-line and board a 510 bus downtown.

      • Alternatively, taking Car2Go between Ballard and downtown to connect with the 510 might cost less than the gas + wear and tear of driving your own car all the way from Everett.

      • It’s more like 45 minutes on the D reverse-peak, and that’s a worst-case trip. Literally five minutes of that time can be spent waiting to get through the Elliott/Mercer light. >:(

        Where are you going to find on-street parking at rush hour for your Car2Go?

      • Downtown has lots of restricted parking, but Belltown has plenty of places to legally stash your car2go. It’s actually best at peak, because there’s so much turnover.

        Though while I find car2go pricing very reasonable for the occasional trip, $6-$9 additional each way per day (depending on traffic) is not a sustainable commute expense.

      • I like that my handle has become synonymous with the awful Elliott/Mercer light cycle, BTW.

        Though I’m still not a squeaky enough wheel for SDOT to actually admit it’s a problem — much less do anything about it — apparently.

    • Just for the record, the ped bridge is a City of Mukilteo project and not a ST project.

  20. “Shoreline should seriously consider becoming lead partner, with Lake Forest Park and Metro or Sound Transit, in developing and building a light rail (acceptable) or monorail line (preferred, as it would be faster, less expensive, and won’t interfere with cars at all) from Point Wells through Richmond Beach, Richmond Highlands, Shoreline Town Center, the Link Light Rail station around 185th, North City, and Lake Forest Park Town Center. It would become the only true east-west through route connecting the two cities and would dramatically decrease car reliance and surface traffic across-town, especially including Richmond Beach, while increasing the viability and vitality of all communities concerned.”

    There’s an idea. A surface light rail line would be relatively inexpensive and fast to build, and it would do a wonder for Shoreline’s crosstown transit, which is abysmal. It would make Shoreline perhaps the most progressive and transit-oriented suburb in the area, which it has already taken some steps toward (although not completely). I’m assuming the cities would raise the funds for this themselves, since the North King subarea already has its plate full with potential Seattle subway lines which are higher priority. And if they want to go real cheap, a frequent bus between Richmond Beach and Lake Forest Park would also go a long way.

    • I just can’t see where the ridership for HCT would come from.

      Today’s 348, which covers most of the route described, has ridership that is acceptable, but not great. The best investment I could imagine in the near future would be to make the 348 into 15-minute service, using service hours from the 304, coincident with the opening of North Link and its 185th Street station.

    • ANY bus would go a long way, but probably requires Metro to make some larger-scale changes to create more of a North Seattle grid. In particular, potentially losing the 348′s contribution to the 15th corridor north of Northgate; the easy solution is to run the 347 straight up 15th (potentially building ridership for the 73′s sanest long-term replacement), but then you lose that segment on 5th and probably have to double 347 frequency.

      • Those are the difficult tradeoffs with 15th NE. I’m still looking for ideas on what would work best there. Or hoping that more destinations appear on 15th to make an all-15th route more viable.

      • I think in the end it may have to be the current 347 routing, as slow as it is, and lose the segment of 15th currently served only by the 348 entirely. Aggressive TSP would make a huge difference, particularly if it could interrupt the cycles at 145th/5th and 145th/15th. The buses can move pretty fast except for those signals.

    • I forgot about the steep hill down to Lake Forest Park which would probably preclude the train. And I don’t remember how wide 185th is, so I was talking more about the general concept of a route than specifically making 185th like MLK.

      Shoreline does have its work cut out for it, because to make the city completely walkable you’d need routes on 145th, 155th, 175th, and 185th.

      • Eh, you don’t need the whole city completely walkable at this point. Start with the entire Aurora corridor, the area between it and SCC, North City, and the residential areas centered around 155th and Meridian that have a history of relatively solid transit ridership.

        Link is supposed to add stations at 145th and 185th. We already have a nearly complete crosstown route between Richmond Beach and North City along 185th/175th in the 348, which will connect well with Link, and which will eventually be a good candidate for frequent service. It misses Lake Forest Park, but that connection is very physically awkward and can’t be done directly, and when the old 314 did it anyway, absolutely no one rode it down there.

        Along 145th and 155th, we only have peak service for the moment, and (from the neighborhoods along there) I think it’s probably less of a priority than either 185th or 130th in Seattle. The 330 is a decent route which could be slightly rerouted to the 145th station and expanded to all-day if it ever looks like the ridership demand will develop.

        There is already frequent service along Aurora and 15th NE, and a route along Meridian that could be upgraded to frequent if demand ever warrants.

      • Ideal route spacing would probably be something like 155th (current 330), 185th, and 205th (I believe the 331 does most of this one). Unless Jackson Park Golf Course is being redeveloped, I’d move the 145th station to 155th. Worth noting that this spacing meshes well with a route on 125th/Roosevelt/130th to the 28′s old Broadview routing, though admittedly a 145th route would work well with the 125th route and one or two on Northgate Way.

      • “Link is supposed to add stations at 145th and 185th.”

        The stations are still undecided. 185th looks pretty certain, but we still don’t know whether there will be one station at 145th, two at 130th and 155th, or two at 130th and 145th. (The latter is least likely because the stop spacing would be so uneven.)

  21. New construction reducing rents.

    Another factor is the up tick in housing sales. Prices have started to edge back up. Interest rates are unlikely to go lower and have to at some point go back up. The fear of a double dip recession appears to have eased. The employment situation is slowly starting to improve. All of these things are motivating people to get off the rent fence and start buying homes again.

    • Nathanael says:

      “The fear of a double dip recession appears to have eased.”

      It shouldn’t have. The double dip is almost guaranteed thanks to the failure to clean up the criminality at the banks, and the failure to route around them.

      The Seattle area will probably ride out the second recession pretty well, though; you’ve got a lot of businesses in growth industries, and not a lot which are heavily banking-dependent.

      • East Coast Cynic says:

        The people who are still working during and after the second possible collapse will ride out pretty well. The increased numbers of unemployed and those not showing up in the unemployment rolls due to long term unemployment, who we tend to forget about, may beg to differ.

      • Nathanael says:

        Yeah. What I’m saying is the unemployed, and everyone else, will probably be better off in the Seattle area, which has a trend contrary to the national trend (new low-end support jobs will appear in Seattle), than they will in most of the country.

        Things are going to get really nasty in the parts of the country which are already hurting hard.

      • Nathanael, the recession was not directly caused by actions of bankers. The lending industry fueled a bubble; the recession is the result of the bubble bursting and the resultant liquidity shock acting like an undertow.

        A new bubble/burst cycle wouldn’t count as a double-dip recession. A double-dip recession would emerge if natural market forces overwhelm our current recovery.

      • There’s also the possibility of federal austerity or a meltdown of the euro.

      • Nathanael says:

        Kyle, the recession was caused by actions of bankers (sure, you can argue about “directly”).

        The recession is indeed the result of the bubble bursting; that bubble was very specifically inflated by the criminal actions of bankers, and the bursting was very specifically caused by the revelation that they were fraudsters.

        As long as the fraud continues, it is going to be practically impossible to get the national economy going again. Right now we’re seeing a second bubble of people trusting bankers (hence the rise in the price of bank stocks), but that can’t last (since the frauds continue), meaning that we’ll get a second banking banking in short order.

        A banking panic will almost always cause a recession, due to the dependency of the economy on loans. The only exception is if most people are getting very good wages and therefore are not dependent on loans. This isn’t happening.

        A second banking panic is very likely before we get back to full employment nationally. If it happens it will cause another recession.

        If you don’t think this counts as a “double-dip recession”, then you’re just talking about terminology, not about reality. “Natural market forces” is a meaningless phrase.

      • Nathanael says:

        To follow up, the reason why Seattle is insulated is the substantial presence of industries which have loads of cash, are growing, and pay their employees more than average nationally — which results in a *less lending-dependent* economy than nationally.

      • “Right now we’re seeing a second bubble of people trusting bankers (hence the rise in the price of bank stocks)”

        There’s an argument that quantitative easing has mainly resulted in higher asset prices (stocks), thus creating a bubble there. Because many stocks are up at pre-crash levels, not just banking stocks. The banking/finance sector is increasingly prominent in the market, but that’s more of a different and longer-term trend. So this bubble will probably burst or deflate at some point. But I do think quantitative easing is necessary now to keep the economy going when Congress is incapable of doing anything.

  22. Ok, it’s an open thread, right?
    https://mgn4dg.dm1.livefilestore.com/y1pAZzgsz_H-sJ3m9lo9FuitgYvQRitvU4GvuXOHcIYDXy3zAUs17cKpHBXvedZ_WcC9NXn-_TeuBRua42V4VtALE0KqkEJ47y_/Route184.png?psid=1
    This is something to think about. It is a bus route I think that King County Metro should make to make up for Pierce Transit’s cuts. It is a circular route that would run both clockwise and counter-clockwise.

    Route 184, to Milton, via Southeast Federal Way
    This route would feature:

    Restores bus service to areas once served all day and weekends by 402 and 501

    Better access to Wild Waves theme park

    Dips into Pierce County just a little, allowing passengers to connect to route 402, and provides access to the Pierce County library in Milton/Edgewood

    Provides service along Military Road S

    You can take Metro to Five Mile Lake Park.

    Brings transit service to neighborhoods in SE Federal Way, connecting them to work, colleges, appointments, parks, McDonalds’, churches, library, and Pierce County.

    What are your thoughts?

    • This sounds like a great idea for a coverage route – the question is does Metro have any more money to spend purely on geographic coverage? Remember, there’s a 20% service cut looming in a few years…

      • In any case, Metro is way better off than Pierce Transit.
        It is getting a much more sustainable 0.9% sales tax,
        It is in a very transit supportive location,
        Since it is the largest county agency in the state, it is much more likely to get attention from Olympia. I also hear that Jay Inslee is transit supportive.

        As for funds for a new route, 903 and 901 could become hourly routes (maybe stay half-hourly during peak times).

        Since Metro used to serve there until Pierce Transit covered it, it kind of has a responsibility to run a route there. Also, otherwise there would be no midday service to Wild Waves, and between being open from May-September, and with Fright Fest in October, and holiday with lights in December, this route should get a ton of riders during those times.

    • Is Metro allowed to run service into Pierce County?

    • D.O.A. (sorry, but Metro is Bust, along with PT and CT and eventually ST)
      The only OD pair in that entire loop that would generate more than a DART van worth of riders is from FWTC to Weyerhauser HQ, and they don’t generate many trips either.
      Think fewer buses going fewer places and grander rail stations. That’s what everyone wants around here – right?

      • I have to agree. I just don’t see the sources of ridership. New coverage routes would be nice in a 2004-style funding environment, but for now we have to concentrate on core services.

        The good idea you have here is to rationalize the 901 and 903 (along with the other Federal Way local routes) and make them into a more frequent Metro service. Their ridership warrants real Metro service rather than contract service with a physically impossible schedule and suspect service quality.

  23. As a somewhat regular rider on the B Line, I’ve been noticing something baffling lately. This is a change from when I used to see Fare Enforcement Officers ask non-payers to get off the bus at the next stop so they could write them a ticket. I am now seeing this one FEO, when he encounters someone who doesn’t have proof of payment, to ask them to go up to the front of the bus and pay their fare. That’s it. No checking I.D. and taking down a name, no written warning, no ticket. Um, excuse me, but the whole theory behind getting people to pay on RR is that if they don’t, they risk a $120+ ticket. If the only penalty for non-payment is you will be asked to pay, then why would anyone pay? If the penalty for not feeding a parking meter in downtown Seattle was $2.00, no one would ever pay for parking again. It looks like this FEO either just wants to be a nice guy and cut people some slack, or he doesn’t understand he’s not supposed to ask people to pay when they haven’t, he’s supposed to write them a ticket! This is just so dumb! I hope it’s just this one guy who is doing this, and Metro hasn’t changed their policy and now just asks people on RR who haven’t paid to go up and pay. If I see him or another FEO do it again, I’m going to complain to Metro about what’s going on. This is a bigger deal than it sounds. This type of “enforcement” will only encourage the type of people who don’t pay, not to pay, until they get caught. It will also send a message to others on the bus that there’s not really a penalty for not paying your fare. Well, there is, but the penalty is $2.50

  24. Changing Faces

    I think some on this blog will be interest by the demographics map. I’m not sure what the shift means for transit measures either at the polls or through legislative action other than “More urban (more than 80% live in or near cities)” would have to portend well.

  25. Could the light at Boren and Broadway be any longer, especially in the AM peak? I hope changes are in the works for that light in correlation with the FHSC; for the light to remain timed as it is would be killer for the reliability of a frequent Boren route. It seems like the 9 sometimes moves one or two car lengths with each cycle at worst.

  26. Nathanael says:

    Did anyone else notice that Sound Transit deleted practically the entirety of its “Projects” website, removing huge quantities of documents?

    I find this annoying.

    • I would write to ST and ask what’s happening. They may just be reorganizing it into another format. With the ton of new planning ST has just committed to next year, it will have to put a lot of new stuff on the website, because I don’t see how it could effectively do outreach otherwise. And having the EIS documents online are both good PR for ST and arguably an obligation to make them publicly accessible.

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